New research from a pair of neurologists at the University of Dublin claims cannabis could be the key to fighting disorders of the aging brain.
As the brain gets older, it becomes more susceptible to degenerative disorders like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. Although different areas of the brain are affected, what underlies both conditions is the progressive death of brain cells. While a number of therapies can be prescribed, scientists have yet to develop treatments that can slow or cure these disorders. However, researchers now believe compounds that target the body’s marijuana pathways, known as the endocannabinoid system (‘endo’ stands for endogenous), could lead to the development of such treatments. “Modulation of the endogenous cannabinoid system is emerging as a potentially viable option in the treatment of neurodegeneration,” wrote University of Dublin researchers Veronica Campbell, PhD and Steven Fagan, PhD last month in the British Journal of Pharmacology. “The endocannabinoid system has been identified as a possible therapeutic target against neurodegeneration as a number of alterations in the endocannabinoid system have been noted in Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and Huntington’s disease,” they continued. According to the pair, studies have already demonstrated the promise of THC, the main compound in cannabis, in managing a number of Alzheimer’s related symptoms: